When you consider Anastasia Soare’s childhood, it seems like a career in beauty was her destiny. However, it was her vision — recognizing that eyebrows shouldn’t be an afterthought — that turned her into a billionaire exemplifying the American Dream.
Let’s backtrack a little bit: The 62-year-old Anastasia Beverly Hills® founder grew up in Romania, where her mother fostered her love of beauty from very early on, teaching Soare how to DIY the traditional Romanian facial of massage, moisturizing, and masking at just five years old. Quality time with her mom once a week gave her even more insight into the fascinating world of beauty.
“My mother worked really hard,” Soare explains. “Her only time off was Sundays — her beauty day — and she used to take me with her to the salon. She'd do her hair, her facials, her eyebrows, everything.” During these moments, which she recalls as a “precious time,” the manicurist would paint Soare’s nails, too. This would inspire her to eventually attend beauty school in Romania, but not before studying art history and architecture.
Unlike cosmetology certification in America, which can be completed in as quickly as eight months, beauty school is closer to a junior college in Europe, taking two and a half years to finish. “You'll study chemistry, biology,” shares Soare. “Remember, you couldn't go to a department store to buy creams, so the esthetician would go to the pharmacy — depending on the skin problem or type the client has — and make her client a cream.”
This certification would come in handy when she and her family came to the states in 1989. Her husband told her that because she couldn’t speak English, the only job that she would likely be able to get was that of an esthetician. She quickly got a job at a salon, where she started specializing in facial and body waxing. That facial waxing led her to become highly interested in eyebrows.
“I was intrigued that in Hollywood in 1990, nobody paid attention to eyebrows,” Soare says. “In art school, I studied the theory of Leonardo da Vinci, and in all his paintings, he used the Golden Ratio.” She decided to go to the library to study how to develop this technique to apply it to eyebrows, taking bone structure and a brow’s natural shape into consideration. The Golden Ratio is a mathematical concept that has been applied for over two millennia to art, architecture, and other forms of design. In the context of eyebrows, the length of the main part of the brow divided by the length of the tail should be equal to the entire brow divided by the main section (yes, it’s complex), getting you to a ratio of 1.618. The result is a naturally aesthetically pleasing appearance.
Soare slowly started grooming more arches in accordance with the Golden Ratio (she would eventually patent this concept for brows). Her studying paid off: by word of mouth, makeup artists started sending their celebrity clients — including Cindy Crawford — to her before red carpet events and shoots. “They realized when their clients’ eyebrows were done, they could see her lid easier,” she says. “They had more real estate to do makeup.”
It wasn’t just makeup artists and celebrities that took note of Soare. The entrepreneur shares that her biggest break came in 1994 when Vogue® contributor Marina Rust wrote an article about iconic makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin’s book, Making Faces. In his work, Aucoin speaks to the importance of brows — and just a few pages later, there was an article about Soare and how she was the best-kept secret in Hollywood. Shortly thereafter, she opened her own salon, then founded her product line in 2000. Today, the brand is said to be valued at $3 billion.
Initially, Soare’s brand consisted exclusively of eyebrow formulas (“It was a niche that nobody paid attention to,” she says). These days, though, it features everything from highlighter palettes and lipsticks to a 50-shade liquid foundation range (launching this summer) and product collaborations with celebrities, including drag queen Alyssa Edwards (Anastasia Beverly Hills has sponsored RuPaul’s Drag Race® since 2015). You won’t be shocked to hear that the brand is the number one brow brand in the United States, with three of its products — Brow Wiz®, Dipbrow®, and Brow DefinerTM — holding the bestseller slots in the category across the entire market.
Anastasia Beverly Hills is also known for its prolific Instagram® account, making it one of the most popular beauty brands on the platform with over 19 million followers. The account famously supports and shares the work of makeup artists across Instagram, often propelling them into social media stardom. It may surprise you to learn that such a viral, valuable Instagram account isn’t run by a team of employees. Rather, it’s managed by CEO Soare and daughter Claudia, the brand’s president.
When asked how the two women are still able to pay attention to such a seemingly small aspect of an international brand, Soare boiled it all down to passion. “We work nonstop,” she confesses. “The only time when we don't work is when we sleep — and we love every minute of it. We love to help women, to guide them, to inspire them. To us, it's the most important thing.
Admittedly, working with her daughter can be a challenge on occasion, with the two coming to frequent disagreements, but Soare explains that regardless of any fighting or screaming the two have the same goal. And, of course, she has a lot of pride in being able to work with her daughter. “I'm very proud of what I’ve achieved and what I’ve done, starting from nothing, but I'm more proud that I was able to give my daughter this purpose — this passion that no money could buy.”
In addition to her cosmetic brand, Soare has another passion — philanthropy. She has her own nonprofit that helps disadvantaged young adults attend beauty school, but she is also involved in many other charitable organizations. “At this point in my life, I think it's important for me to give back and help others,” she explains. For 15 years now, she has been a member of the Blue Heron Foundation℠, sponsoring children and orphanages in Romania and Moldova. “Now, I sponsor 25 [of those] kids to go to college,” she shares. She also helps support the LA BalletTM, amfAR®, and AllBright℠, among other institutions. “I don't have too much time, but the time that I have, I want to put it to work in a good way,” she says.
Unsurprisingly, with nearly all of her time going to work, philanthropy, and occasional sleep, Soare has very little time to pamper herself. She shared that she (of course) tweezes her own brows, and uses Dipbrow Gel in Soft Brown, Brow Wiz in Medium Brown, and her clear brow gel on her own arches, with a touch of CamilleTM highlighter on the brow bone. She calls herself a “product addict” when it comes to skincare, and swears by Dr. Barbara Sturm® formulas. “I use her entire line,” the entrepreneur confesses.
She’s also open to medical aesthetic treatments. “I [get] injectable wrinkle reducer, very little filler,” Soare admits, and prefers a more subtle look. That said, she doesn’t judge anyone who gets injectables, and thinks people should do whatever they like.
[Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face, including the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet. Injectable filler is a temporary treatment that adds volume to areas of the face such as the lips, cheeks, and laugh lines. Like any medical treatment, both injectable wrinkle reducers and injectable fillers have potential risks and side effects. Talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you. And learn more now by chatting with a trained aesthetic specialist.]
Soare’s beauty philosophy is similarly empowering. “It’s not perfection,” she explains. “Beauty is balance.” But above that, there is strength in it, too. “Someone that understands and knows how to apply their makeup according to their bone structure makes them powerful,” says Soare. “Beauty is power.” That adage is especially true when it comes to this self-made beauty billionaire, but regardless of the status of your own empire, we think it’s inspiring all the same.
Allergan® may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this article.